New Zealand’s High Court has ordered publisher John Bowie and law publication LawFuel to reveal their sources as part of a harassment investigation lodged by a Russian national living in the US.

This decision sets a concerning precedent for press freedom and the protection of journalists’ sources in New Zealand’s democracy.

“Protecting sources is key to the proper functioning of journalism.” says AJF Executive Director, Olivia Pirie-Griffiths.

“Decisions like this have a chilling effect on sources and whistleblowers to media. This, in turn, prevents journalists from doing their jobs – reporting matters in the public interest and holding power to account. It’s damaging to democracy.”

John Bowie also now faces a defamation action as well.

Media Defence, a UK based organisation working globally to support journalists and media workers, wrote about this incident in more detail here.

With respect to Australian law, the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom outlines the essential need for the protection of journalists’ sources in our 2019 White Paper.

 

Photo credit: Matthew Buchanan, Unsplash